PUYALLUP – Sharif Kombo could’ve easily been the forgotten man this season on the Lakeside High School boys soccer team.
But the sophomore definitely will long be remembered.
With the departure of talented forwards Quentin Chi and Seyi Adekoya choosing to play for the Sounders FC Academy, Kombo stepped to the forefront.
On the biggest stage, Kombo came up with the biggest contribution.
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Shrugging off defender Matt Hanson and almost relishing contact, Kombo delivered a goal in the 19th minute as the seventh-ranked Lions turned back Mercer Island 1-0 on Saturday afternoon in the Class 3A championship match at Sparks Stadium.
In its fourth state-championship appearance, Lakeside (16-2-2) finally brought home the school’s first state title in boys soccer. It is fitting that hard work finally yielded a title, with freshman midfielder Paul Rothrock making a nice long pass forward to Kombo.
“That was just me working hard,” said Kombo of his goal. “It wasn’t the prettiest goal in the entire world, but you know it won and it made it happen. That was a good ball by Paul (Rothrock).”
It was Kombo’s 14th goal of the season.
Mercer Island (12-5-5) rode a hot streak into the final with five consecutive wins after taking third in KingCo 3A/2A in the regular season.
“It was a mistake in the midfield, and they caught us on the other side of it,” said MI coach Colin Rigby, who also lost as an Islander player in the 2001 3A final. “It was a special trip for us. We were the Cinderella story to go as far as we did.”
Lakeside got the job done Saturday after losing in the 3A finals in 1989, 2000 and 2006.
MI came out with a renewed sense of purpose in the second half and put pressure on the Lions early after intermission. Sean Bender’s twisting header from 15 yards out sailed wide right at the 44-minute mark.
Then, Matt Dayton had to head a bending 21-yard free kick off the back line from the Islanders’ Ryan Hill, who curved in a booming shot.
Sunnyside 3, Shorewood 2, OT shootout
Sunnyside freshman Jose Marquez scored both regulation goals and hammered in the clinching penalty kick as the Grizzlies (20-3) claimed third place for the school’s first trophy finish in boys soccer.
Sunnyside junior goalkeeper Manuel Calvillo made a kick save at the right post with the shootout tied 5-5 to set up Marquez’s winning kick into the right side of the net. Sunnyside won the shootout 6-5.
Thunderbirds senior defender Justin Collins found the upper left corner of the net on a penalty kick – the team’s second of the match – in the 77th minute for a 2-1 advantage.
The Thunderbirds’ (14-5-5) fourth-place showing was the school’s best finish since also taking fourth in 1987. The T-birds won the 4A (then AAA) crown in 1978 and were second in 1980.